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Local business owner donates funds for hockey program in WS/FC Schools

Marley has donated over $50,000 to the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School system to implement a floor hockey program into their physical education curriculum, starting next fall.

Local business owner donates funds for hockey program in WS/FC Schools
February 07
00:30 2019

Forsyth County students have plenty of choices for sports, such as football, basketball or baseball. Since North Carolina is a southern state, there are not many outlets for those who love the game of hockey. Dr. Dave Marley and the Carolina Thunderbirds look to change that.

To bring more attention to the sport of hockey, Marley has donated more than $50,000 to the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School System for a floor hockey program to be added to the physical education curriculum next fall.

“It’s an exhilarating sport and it’s one that, as a northerner, is in your blood as one of the things you did during the winter time,” said Marley. “It’s a wonderful way for young kids to get up off the couch, put down the video game and get back to being active again in a way that is fun and gives them good exercise.”

Marley is originally from upstate New York and relocated to North Carolina in 1994. He opened his pharmacy in 2003. He says he lost his interest in hockey upon relocating to the Tar Heel state, but his interest was rejuvenated when his son began playing the sport.

“Once I moved to North Carolina, I gave up a lot of my northern activities, whether it was skiing or hockey, and just kind of settled into southern life,” he said. “When we had kids, I started thinking about what we did as kids and we got our youngest son into youth hockey.”

Marley noticed during his son’s time in youth hockey that one of the biggest issues surrounding hockey in the area is the lack of bodies to fill all levels of the sport.  

“The challenge is, how do we get more kids interested in the game of hockey,” said Marley. “The youth hockey world has done everything they could do to generate interest in the area.”

While looking at a hockey website on his phone, Marley stumbled across an article about the Arizona Coyotes, an NHL team, sponsoring a youth hockey program in the local schools and thought that would be a great idea for Forsyth County schools as well.

“I read that article and I reached out to Scott Brand of the Carolina Thunderbirds and said if I can come up with the funds, can we do this here in Winston-Salem,” he said.  “The question was, could we find a way to get the hockey equipment into all K through 8 grammar schools?”

According to Marley, the conversation with Brand took place in early December of 2018, so they had less than a month to contact the schools, put a plan in place and come up with a curriculum.

“Yeah, we made the donation and we were happy to do it, but Brand and the Thunderbirds get all of the credit,” said Marley. “Honestly, his organization reached out to the schools and got everyone to sign off on it. Somehow it came together and starting next fall, all 60 schools will get all the equipment and the curriculum to implement this into the physical education programs.

“The whole idea is just to get a stick into the kid’s hands to run around and have a chance to put the ball in the net. We just want these kids to realize that there is another sport out here and another opportunity for them.”

Brand said when he discussed the idea with Marley, his goal was to see how they could grow the game in all aspects of the community.

“I just didn’t want to give away some equipment and not follow up, so we talked with the school district about implementing this curriculum,” said Brand. “The curriculum will include drills and we will supplement that with having our players come out and play a game or practice with them sometimes.

“Dave and I feel that hockey is such a tremendous game, we have to expose it to people, and we thought this was a great way to expose our game,” he continued.  

Marley and Brand both echoed their excitement about the possibility of putting a hockey stick in every kid’s hand from kindergarten through eighth grade.  

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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